Hugo Chavez is fond of Americans and their culture even if their last president did try to have him killed, he told Larry King yesterday. The usually pugnacious Venezuelan president said he used to dream of playing baseball in Yankee Stadium and is a big fan of Walt Whitman and actor Charles Bronson. He finds his New York security detail "very gracious, very efficient, very kind." His affection does not extend to former President Bush, however, who he said ordered his assassination during a short-lived 2002 coup.
"The Bush government toppled me," Chavez said. "They asked for my assassination." Chavez spoke of his strong Christian faith and his fears the US might still try to force him from power. "I'm a man with many defects," he conceded, but added later: I'm a Christian. I want the world of justice and equality."